The bracket to determine which Portland Trail Blazers player you’d most like to see return to the squad for just one more season has been decided, albeit by the narrowest of margins. A little over a month ago, we selected 16 players from years of yore, incredible talents who graced the franchise with memorable performances. We ask you which of the 16 you’d like to see come back once more for a farewell tour: to watch them play once more, to help out the team, or both. We intentionally did not include Clyde Drexler and Bill Walton in the bracket, as their contributions would trump everyone else’s. But the 16 we did choose were impressive.
In the first round of the tournament...
Jerome Kersey defeated Scottie Pippen
Brian Grant defeated Wesley Matthews
Brandon Roy defeated Geoff Petrie
Cliff Robinson defeated Terry Porter
Drazen Petrovic defeated Rasheed Wallace
LaMarcus Aldridge defeated Damon Stoudamire
Arvydas Sabonis defeated Billy Ray Bates
Maurice Lucas defeated Kiki Vandeweghe
Of all of those, the only mild surprise was Uncle Cliffy upsetting Porter, but readers were fairly clear in their preferences throughout.
In the second round of the tournament...
Jerome Kersey defeated Brian Grant
Brandon Roy defeated Cliff Robinson
Drazen Petrovic defeated LaMarcus Aldridge
Arvydas Sabonis defeated Maurice Lucas
The Sabonis-Lucas contest was the closest of the entire tournament, virtually tied after on-site and Twitter votes were compiled. We had to go to an email tie-breaker to determine it. Sabas prevailed there, barely.
In the semi-finals...
Brandon Roy defeated Jerome Kersey
Arvydas Sabonis defeated Drazen Petrovic
The Kersey-Roy matchup was heart-wrenching and close. Just naming those two franchise greats in the same sentence was enough to send chills up any Blazers fan’s spine.
After tabulating the results, by a margin of 51.9% to 48.1%, Arvydas Sabonis is the Trail Blazers player you’d most like to see return for one season. The giant Lithuanian not only brought out warm memories, comparisons to NBA MVP Nikola Jokic abounded. Though momentum for Roy ran high, particularly given the duration of his injury-shortened career, Sabonis proved the victor.
As a reward, enjoy some Arvydas Sabonis career highlights!
Thank you to Sabas, Brandon Roy, and all the Trail Blazers who gave us great memories! Feel free to share your favorites who didn’t make our bracket below!